General Surgery

Thyroid Diseases

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ which is situated in frontal section of the neck and weighs 15-25 grams. The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones and gives them to blood.

Thyroid Cancer

It is a type of cancer caused by the cells in the thyroid gland becoming cancerous. Thyroid cancers usually appear as a mass on the neck or a nodule inside thyroid gland. Most thyroid cancers disappear with surgery and radioactive iodine treatment, and do not shorten the patient's life expectancy.

Thyroid cancer is 2 times more common in women than men and its cause isn't exactly known.

As with other cancers, exposure to radiation increases incidence of thyroid cancer. People who were exposed to 200 to 700 rads of radiation in their childhood were found to have increased incidence of thyroid cancer after 20-25 years. In a research study, thyroid cancer incidence has been shown to be around 2% in people who were exposed to radiation of around 500 rads. After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in Russia, there has been a large increase in thyroid cancer in people living in that area. Recent research studies demonstrated that some genetic disorders play an important role in thyroid cancers.

Thyroid cancer doesn't produce symptoms in most patients. However, its most common symptoms include mass in the neck, hoarseness, and enlarged lymph glands. In rare cases, difficulty swallowing, trembling in hands, heart rhythm disturbances, palpitations, excessive sweating, dry skin , diarrhea, and constipation may also occur.

In all thyroid cancers, thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes are surgically removed . After surgery, depending on the type of cancer, high-dose radioactive iodine treatment is performed in armored hospital rooms. So it is aimed to kill any cancer cells which remained elsewhere in the body. This radioactive iodine dose will vary depending upon the spread of cancer . In some cases this method may need to be repeated. For this reason, the patient is allowed to wait for 6 months.

In some types of cancer, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be administered after surgery.

Thyroxine hormone is given to patients after the treatment because TSH levels should be reduced. High TSH causes recurrence of cancer.


Goiter is defined as enlargement of the thyroid gland. It can be seen at any age. It is more common in women than men.

Goiter mainly shows the following symptoms:

  • Swelling of the neck
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fast weight gain
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia),
  • Bulging of eyes ( exophthalmos )
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss

Causes of goiter are as follows:

  • Iodine deficiency: Goiter may develop as a result of iodine deficiency and increased hormone requirement of the body during pregnancy. Goiter caused by iodine deficiency is endemic, i.e. region-specific. Goiter is common in our country because iodine consumption is low.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Reduced or increased amounts of thyroid hormones secreted by the thyroid gland cause a negative effect. If it secretes excessive amounts of hormones, this condition is called hyperthyroidism. In this condition, symptoms such as irritability, weight loss despite an increased appetite, excessive seating, tremor, palpitations and ocular findings if it persists for a long time occur.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism develops when thyroid secretes hormones in an amount which is less than the normal amount. This condition shows symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, deceleration in motion and heart rate, constipation, cessation of menstruation in women.
  • Nodules: Thyroid gland may sometimes become enlarged because of nodules. A goiter containing nodules is called nodular goiter.
  • Thyroid Cancer: Thyroid cancer causes a swelling inside the thyroid gland, too.
  • Inflammation of the thyroid gland: Inflammation of the thyroid gland causes enlargement of thyroid gland, too.

Goiter surgery means removal of all or part of the thyroid gland and that no thyroid tissue remains in the body. Thus, all or part of the organ which is harmful for the body is removed from the body.

Thyroid gland consists of a right lobe, a left lobe and a small bridge(band) combining these two in the middle. If the disease is on the right lobe of the thyroid gland, the right lobe is removed completely with the bridge in the middle. No thyroid tissue is left in the affected part and the affected lobe is completely removed.

There is no such thing as leaving a part of throid to avoid risks or the need for using medications. The affected part is completely removed.